Governor Corbett presents responsible spending plan to General Assembly
Governor Tom Corbett this week presented his 2014-15 budget to the General Assembly, saying that thanks to three years of fiscal restraint, we are now able to make responsible spending increases. The Governor noted that Pennsylvania’s hard-working people, key location and abundant natural resources continue to give our state unlimited potential.
The Governor’s proposed budget focuses on three key areas: education, jobs and health and human services.
DCNR’s proposed total budget of $326 million for fiscal year 2014-15 remains about level with the current fiscal year.
Through good management over the past several years, creativity and reallocation of funding sources to support DCNR’s conservation, natural resource and recreation work, the department is in a good position with this budget proposal to continue operations without disruption to DCNR's programs and services.
Governor Corbett’s proposal is complemented by the "Enhance Penn's Woods" initiative announced this past weekend, which will target investment of over $200 million over two years in state park and forest infrastructure, including nearly $100 million in new revenues from Growing Greener II and capital budget commitments.
DCNR estimates about 200 much-needed infrastructure projects will be covered under the 2-year investment, representing the largest, short-term investment in state park and forest history.
The Governor’s budget anticipates revenue of $75 million from limited leasing of oil and gas rights underlying state forest and park lands. Leases would be restricted to only those which will result in no new or additional surface disturbance on state-owned lands. Gas will be accessed primarily from privately owned, adjacent lands already under development.
The Governor will issue a new Executive Order in the coming months that will prohibit any leasing of state forest or park land that would result in surface impacts on state land. The Executive Order will target use of future royalty proceeds for state park and forest infrastructure improvements; acquisition of high-value inholdings; and acquisition of privately held oil and gas rights that underlie high-value state park and forest lands in order to conserve this habitat from development.
The $75 million in fiscal year 2014-15 would enable the commonwealth to make record investments in the coming fiscal year in key priorities such as K-12 education, access to quality health care through Healthy PA, and public safety without raising taxes on Pennsylvanians.
For more information on the Governor’s proposed budget, visit the Budget Office website here.
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